Donald J. Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States has morphed into something he calls “extreme vetting.”
Is that any more acceptable?
That depends, I suppose.
If you’re frightened beyond all reason over allowing any Muslims into the country, then the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s apparent change in policy is a “weakening” of his get-tough stance.
On the other hand, if you wonder just how U.S. immigration and customs officials are going to conduct this so-called “extreme vetting” — as I do — then this plan is just another goofy notion that well might change in the next day or two.
Oh, and there’s also that constitutional issue. The First Amendment lists three basic liberties, the first one of which just happens to be the freedom to worship whichever faith you choose.
Trump is going to accept the GOP presidential nomination this week in Cleveland. He’s selected Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate. Pence, interestingly, has declared Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric to be antithetical to American values.
Aw, but what the heck? What’s wrong with a few disagreements among political allies? That sounded like Trump’s rationale for selecting someone with whom he has some serious policy disagreements.
Does the “extreme vetting” bring the two GOP candidates closer on this particular difference of opinion? Time will tell, I suppose.
Whether it’s an outright ban or a regimen of “extreme vetting” of people based on their religious faith, the GOP nominee’s precept is built out of fear and panic. It also ignores the reality that federal security forces are intercepting and detaining suspected bad guys every single day.
Trump keeps insisting that we need to be more vigilant, more alert, more resolute in defending ourselves against terrorists.
The 9/11 attacks nearly 15 years ago — Can you believe that? — exposed the nation to the harshest reality imaginable, which is that we were vulnerable to that kind of horror. We were vulnerable to such evil for a long time before it actually happened.
I believe we are a lot less vulnerable to it today, based on the terrible lessons learned from that horrifying event.
What’s more, defending ourselves against a lone-wolf attacker is difficult in the extreme, as Secretary of State John Kerry noted over the weekend.
He made a fascinating point Sunday morning, which is that U.S. national security forces have to be on guard and totally alert every minute of every single day of the year. Meanwhile, a terrorist has to be sharp for just a few minutes in order to conduct a successful strike against us.
“Extreme vetting” or an outright ban of Muslims will not protect us totally and fully against the evil that lurks out there.
Such language, though, does create a catchy political sound bite.